News of the WeekCancer Research

Leukemia Protein Spurs Gene Silencing

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Science  08 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5557, pp. 943-945
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5557.943b

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On page 1079, researchers report that a mutant oncogenic protein involved in development of a blood cancer known as acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) recruits enzymes that attach methyl groups to DNA, in this case to a possible tumor suppressor gene called RARb2. The addition of these methyl groups silences the gene, and that in turn contributes to the malignant transformation of the leukemia cells, the researchers report. This finding could lead to better APL therapies aimed at blocking methylation of RARb2 and other targets of the oncogenic protein.